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Probability in practice: The case of Turkey bingo. (English)
Math. Teach. (Reston) 102, No. 4, 248-254 (2008).
Summary: The Wednesday before Thanksgiving presents a challenge to teachers in many U.S. schools. Some students are absent because they are traveling to be with their extended families for the holiday. Other students, assuming that nothing important will happen at school when so many of their peers are absent, may also be absent. One school’s solution to the attendance problem on this day is to have a daylong bingo game. This article recounts a mathematics problem that arose in this schoolwide game in one recent year, explores the mathematics behind solving the problem, and briefly examines two technological approaches to the solution. This problem provides an example of a type of probability analysis the authors recommend doing with high school students. In particular, the authors show how to use a software package‒Fathom‒to simulate a probability situation that is too complicated for direct theoretical analysis, and they compare the results with an estimated computation. The techniques described in this article could be used to solve a variety of interesting probability problems. (Contains 9 figures.) (ERIC)
Classification: K53 K54 R23 R24 U63 U64
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